This new understanding of the flow patterns over the surface of the creature's skin was used to create bio-inspired fish scale arrays for further investigation, which the team believes could lead to drag reductions in aerial vehicles of as much as 25 percent.
Scientists regularly turn to the animal kingdom in their efforts to improve the aerodynamic performance of aircraft. In the past, we've looked at how the complex movements of locust wings could inspire more efficient aerial vehicles, while a 2018 study investigating the scales of shark skin is another interesting example. Similarly, the authors of the new study from the City, University of London and the University of Stuttgart found inspiration in the way scales help fish move smoothly through the water. Like sharks, these creatures rely on highly-evolved arrays of tiny scales to minimize drag as they swim, and by studying the surface topology of European sea bass and common carp, scientists have now uncovered some useful secrets.